Enjoy a walk around Riverside and see the treasures it holds and the projects Riverside Naturally is working on, and what plans we have for the future.
Start your walk at the bench near the pillars at the top of Shore Road, next to Riverside Quay. These pillars were once part of Forthside House, which was built in 1815 and demolished as part of the redevelopment after the Ministry of Defense left the site. You can find out more here.
As you look out from the bench towards the river you will see 8 newly planted oak trees. These were placed at the start of 2020 to replace lost trees from the area and also now mark the beginning of our A.R.K.
As you walk down the road towards the pontoon you will follow a stone wall, behind this is our Act of Restorative Kindness, a haven where plants and other wildlife can thrive.
It is a place that the Council leaves undisturbed for natural processes to happen. Space for wildlife is disappearing but this ARK is a safe place for pollinators and other creatures to find food and shelter.
What can you spot living in this sanctuary?
As you carry on down Shore Road you reach the Old Harbour and the new pontoon. As an effort to return greenery and diversity this area after building the lay-by car parking, Stirling Council planted three cherry blossoms in early 2020.
This is a favourite place for swans to visit, hares are often spotted in the spring in the field opposite and deer are regularly found grazing along the riverbank.
Continue from the Old Harbour along Abbey Road. One aspect of Riverside that Riverside Naturally is keen to change is the lack of trees on our streets. Street trees are important for a number of reasons including encouraging pollinators and other vital wildlife. The aesthetic benefit can result in a rise in house prices, and trees help reduce flooding and air pollution. Street trees have been credited with traffic calming too.
The Woodland Trust feels very strongly about this and have a Street Trees Project if you'd like to find out more.
At the bottom of Abbey Road on to Riverside Drive the stump of a lime tree can be seen. Due to a fungal infection the tree needed to be removed and is now a great example of how life makes use of every niche as other species colonise the remains of the tree. It is also a haven for various mini-beasts who enjoy living in and feasting on the dark sheltered centre of the old tree.
Behind the stump to the left, in the centre of the grass, there is a young weeping willow tree planted as a replacement. It will soon match the glory of the other weeping willows across the river.
After the bridge over to Cambuskeneth, we were very pleased to plant the replacement red oak sapling early in 2020. The removal of the glorious ancient red oak inspired Riverside Naturally into action. The new oak also marks the start of the stunning walk along the river, which during the spring is lined by blooming ancient cherry blossom trees.
This space has been left alone for many years with only basic maintenance and herbicides to tame the weeds. This area would make an ideal place for Riverside Naturally to adopt and showcase some ideas for bringing biodiversity to your own garden.
Continuing your walk along you can see the stunning views of the Wallace Monument and the Ochils. You can often see hares and roe deer in the field across the river. , Herron and many other water birds are often here, and in the spring on 2020 an otter who has made the banks of the Forth his territory was spotted here.
The Woodland Garden is one of our current projects and alongside Stirling Council work is underway to improve this space along the river path.
We have designed a beautiful woodland garden with new native trees and over 20 native species of plants and flowers which will give this neglected space colour and vibrancy all year round.
Coronavirus has slowed us down but not stopped our activities - you can find out more here.
The end of our walk culminates at the Riverside Community Orchard. This orchard was established in 2012 and has grown in strength and beauty year after year with the care and dedication of volunteers. There are now 29 fruit trees thriving in this space. You could become part of the team - no experience is necessary and all are very welcome.
We are planning to extend the orchard and plant a low growing wildflower meadow adjacent to it. This will have approximately 20 native wildflower species and will bring diversity and further beauty to this space, Although planned for the spring of 2020, it was sadly postponed due to the coronavirus, For more information and to sponsor a square of the meadow click here.
We hope you have enjoyed your walk with us. If you would like a guide to take with you on your walk download one here.
We would love to see your pictures of Riverside and your walks around this glorious area. If you have any questions, comments please get in touch.
You can become a member of Riverside Naturally by completing this form.